Who Knew?

I would soon realize that 8 weeks is a very long time to give notice?  Let me just assure you that it is.

I was pretty good at keeping secrets, but this one was tough.  There were some people that were leaving the Company and of course it is only natural for people to ask if you were next.  I was hoping that I would not be asked that question but unfortunately I was and I had to tap dance around it and say me? why would you ask?

I was truly uncomfortable and told my boss.  It just wasn’t time yet and they weren’t sure how to tell everyone so let’s wait another week.  So we did and then we had to wait to find out some details from HR and then we had to wait until some news from the Board was released and then…I’m starting to see a pattern here.

Finally, after 4 weeks,
it was decided that our group would hear first at our Staff meeting and then an announcement would be released to the Field Leaders.  Even though I was more than ready, I was nervous.  It was a big decision, one that was right for me, not so sure how everyone else would feel.

At our Staff meeting, everyone gave their updates.  I did as well and then my boss spoke for a few minutes about how things change and people may leave etc. and then she announced that I had resigned but had agreed to stay on to do one more training and to help with a big meeting at the end of June. You could have knocked everyone over with a feather as it could have been any other name but mine that was announced.  I was a Company person, I bled Company blood, how could it be me?

About an hour later the announcement went out to the field.  It was as if the send button was hit and my phone and emails started blowing up.  People that I wouldn’t have expected to call or email did in a nano second.  Some were clearly upset, some were excited for me, but all were shocked.

I heard some beautiful sentiments from people but everyone asked Why? Couldn’t they make you stay? Where are you going? Are you leaving TX?  I had to turn my phone off because I was truly overwhelmed.  I knew that I had made some impact on people, I just didn’t realize how much.

Now It’s A Secret

Let’s go back to the title of the blog for a minute.  Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional. I’m wondering if you thought about this and if it makes any sense to you? Before I made the decision to leave, I knew that I could stay where I was and exist.  But there was change coming at me in so many different areas.  Did I want to just exist? I don’t think so.  I decided that this was another point in my life where I would spread my wings…again and grow with the times.  I decided to figure some things out about me and find out what made me tick.  I could be like so many other people and stay where I had a secure position and brought home a guaranteed pay check. But why was I putting a pay check as my value? I am going to make things happen!

Years ago my father was a jeweler.  He worked with very expensive pieces and stones.  The times they were a changing.  We all told him to bring in less expensive jewelry into the store.  He didn’t want to.  He was not going to change.  I suggested bringing in some new “designers”, after all, the pieces were expensive, less than what he was carrying, but it would still hit the market he was after.  There was this brand new designer who only had some small rings with stones that I thought would be great for the female clientele.  No, my father decided against the change or the growth.  Want to take a guess who that new designer was? David Yurman, who was just starting out. My father’s business didn’t survive because the change came, it was the growth that didn’t.

Ok so back to my journey.  Once those words came out of my mouth it was as if time stopped.  The reaction I got was NOPE not happening.  Hmmm I wasn’t sure if that was an option.  “What if we could find something more exciting? or something more demanding”?  It wasn’t that at all.  It was time and I felt it with every bone in my body.  Unless you are experiencing this, you can’t make someone else understand the feeling.

I was asked to think about it over the weekend and really think if it was the direction I wanted to go.  I promised I would. I was also asked not to have this conversation with anyone else until he and I spoke on Monday.  Which I also promised I wouldn’t.

Unfortunately, my immediate boss and I found ourselves alone at the end of the training session the next day and we started talking and sharing some personal information and I had to tell her.  If I didn’t and she heard it on Monday, I felt like I would have been lying to her so I told her.  I have to say, she wasn’t very shocked but asked if I would at least consider staying until the end of the year as that would help everyone out.  Again, I said I would think about it and we could talk on Monday.

I actually did think about everything over the weekend, even though I had thought it all through before.  A promise is a promise.  I did come up with the same decision and was ready to tell them both on Monday.  But, Monday came and went and on Tuesday, I talked to the big boss and he said he already knew my decision was to leave since I didn’t give him the thumbs up on Monday.

One thing they both asked was to please not say anything until they could figure out how to make it public.  There was the field to consider as well as other details.  So now, this major decision, that was so difficult to make, and harder to verbalize,  would be inside me until the timing was right.  And…I had just agreed to stay until the beginning of July, which was about 8 weeks.

Getting The Words Out Of My Mouth

Where are the right words?

The following week I had a friend stay with me while here on business.  We talked and talked and we both had major decisions to ake in our lives. She has the perfect relationship at home and needed to make her professional life more meaningful.  I was trying to find myself in both my personal and professional life.  She made a comment to me that I hear in my mind over and over again…”You have everything, and you have nothing”.  Gulp! Yikes! Really?  I was so focused on making sure my children were ok and building a business or two that I let me slip by.  I lost me.  When someone would ask me what I liked to do I would actually have to hesitate and think about it because it had been that long.

So now I knew I had to tell those that I report to of my decision.  I had asked to speak with the person in charge of our entire department first.  Not that I wanted to go over my boss’ head, but he and I have known each other and been together in the business for so many years, I felt out of respect that he should know first.  We made tentative plans to meet over the weekend out of the office.  My stomach was starting to turn.

On Saturday, I took my friend to the airport, kissed her goodbye and told her that by the time she got home, I would have had the conversation and at least the process would begin. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.  Our wires were crossed and he didn’t remember the meeting.  I was crushed.  I have always told my children that if you need to do something that isn’t that comfortable, just do it and the next day it would be behind you.  Great thought but that wasn’t the case.

On Sunday I was heading to the training session and would be out of the office for the week.  Do you understand what that means? This conversation would have to wait but I had to put it in a different compartment in my brain because I needed to focus on the 90 people coming in.  They deserved to have me present 150%.

The week went on without a hitch, even with the new location and the new agenda.  Everyone was so excited and that is the ultimate goal.  On Thursday however, my big boss showed up and while someone else was on stage, he called me outside.  I didn’t even think about what this was because I had put what I wanted to say to him in a different compartment for the week….

He asked how the training was going with the new changes and I told him it was running without any glitches.  Then he said…”You wanted to talk to me”  Have I mentioned that I do a lot of gulping?? I had the entire speech that I wanted to say to him and absolutely nothing was coming into my brain.  I simply said “It’s time for me to go”

What Was I Thinking…Literally

It was April 10th when something was gnawing at me.  Things were changing in my professional world.  Health Care Reform was going to hit the industry and it was time for the focus of our Company to change gears.  I was all prepared for that…and not really sure what being prepared really meant.

We were gearing up for a new Training program to be presented to our field force.  The Company had changed, the agenda had changed, the logistics changed and through it all, this was going to be stability.  When I was reviewing the changes in the agenda, I started to feel that what was once our mainstay was going to take a back seat to where we needed to be.  Along with that came my realization that I may not be bringing the same value as I once did.  While everyone tells me that wasn’t/isn’t the case, that was my perception and that to me made it real.

I knew there would be reductions in home office personnel and even though I didn’t think my name was on the list yet, I felt that it would be at some point in the not so distant future.  I decided that this would probably be the right time to make a move.  But what was I moving to?  That was the million dollar question.  I struggled with that for about a week and even though I couldn’t answer that question 100%, I knew it was time.

In The Beginning

If the title of this blog seems familiar, than we have worked together at some point in the last 15 years and you know this statement came from  a late, great entrepreneur.  If it doesn’t, just know it is something that has had the greatest impact on my entire life.

Over the past 28 years I have started businesses from the ground floor, built departments in Companies and have learned the pros and cons of being both Self-Employed and Corporate.

My passion is the start up phase in a business and whether or not the business was mine or part of a Corporation, I always treated it as if it were my own.  You have to learn the ins and outs of every facet of the business because how can you ask someone to do something that you haven’t, wouldn’t or don’t want to do?

Even though my journey started many years ago, my newest adventure began about 60 days ago.  That was the time when I realized that I wasn’t on the right path for myself and needed to make a change.  The fact that I’m 55 and not 25 adds to the excitement.

I would like to share my experiences, the ups and downs, what I’ve learned and hope you join me in this adventure.